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K-12 Funding Still Being Debated
K-12 Funding Still Being Debated

As late as January 15, 2008 Governor Beshear’s budget team was debating just how far to cut into the core educational funding for local school districts. At issue are the two primary sources for local school districts: SEEK funding and cuts to the Department of Education.

SEEK stands for Support Education Excellence in Kentucky. SEEK funding totals about $3 billion a year. This money is based upon average daily attendance (ADA) level for each school district. School districts as part of this budget debate have been asked by the Governor’s team to consider a 7 % cut.

With a proposed 7% cut, a total of $205 million would be taken out of the system. Making matters worse is the situation that many of the SEEK administers are leftover Fletcher appointees who, for the past year, have been warring with their budget staff over the SEEK formula. It seems that these individuals were never able to fully understand the SEEK process.

The second proposed major funding target for cuts is the Department of Education’s general fund. A possible 12% cut in this area for 2009 would mean a loss of $46 million to Kentucky school districts.

Joe Meyer, a senior policy advisor for the budget team, told Central Kentucky reporters on Tuesday, January 15, 2008 that “The budget office is trying to understand what the impact of the proposals like this would be on the delivery of services.”

The new Education Commissioner Jon Draud cautioned reporters that they would not cut both areas. “What is likely to happen is that all agencies, including the Department of Education, would wind up with a recommended 12 % cut from the Governor’s budget, and SEEK is not likely to be cut at all.”

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